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BOTTOM LINE ON R44 RAVEN II


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Whenever I mention the possibility of buying a new Robbie R44 Raven II, I get the usual comments: too light, dangerous, unsafe, POS, etc.

 

But really ... are they that bad?

 

Safety stats can be manipulated to show just about any theory. But I'd like to hear from experience. Are Robbies safe compared to other choppers (assuming proper training), are they "less forgiving", are they too light? Inertia problems? What about reliability of the engine? I am asking about new models with all the ADs and mods.

 

Thoughts?

 

Thanks!

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Are they really that bad? If you have to ask...

Lets find another helicopter that the main rotor seems to keep coming off in flight? Sure it doesn't happen too often and the old military guys remember the OH-58 and UH-1 having mast bumping problems way back when... but REALLY? Did you not just answer your own questions? If you fly if just right you will most likely not die. There you go. Would I fly one if it was given to me? Yes. Dang I hate to say that.

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Guest pokey

my order of prefrence of piston helicopters:

 

269

enstrom

bell 47

hiller

brantley

and all the old round engined ones

rotorway

and um,,,

even hurts to say this word,.. rrr,rrrrr i cant do it !

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I put over 1300 hours on my R44 Raven II in about 3 years. Rotor never fell off, it never crashed itself, was enjoyable to fly, cost me just over $260.00 an hour all in after 1300 hours and selling it, did everything it was asked of and never complained!

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It depends on who you ask. There's a prejudice out there against Robbies, I don't know why, but some people just hate them?

 

I've only got 80hrs in 44s, but I'd pick them over a Jet Ranger any day!, and yes, I have flown that too!

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I put over 1300 hours on my R44 Raven II in about 3 years. Rotor never fell off, it never crashed itself, was enjoyable to fly, cost me just over $260.00 an hour all in after 1300 hours and selling it, did everything it was asked of and never complained!

 

Damn! i was going to offer you a $50/hr premium on your costs!!!

I got over 100hrs in a 44 and liked it too - other than the time it mag locked on take-off !!!!

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I put over 1300 hours on my R44 Raven II in about 3 years. Rotor never fell off, it never crashed itself, was enjoyable to fly, cost me just over $260.00 an hour all in after 1300 hours and selling it, did everything it was asked of and never complained!

 

Ditto...

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Guest pokey

It depends on who you ask. There's a prejudice out there against Robbies, I don't know why, but some people just hate them?

 

I've only got 80hrs in 44s, but I'd pick them over a Jet Ranger any day!, and yes, I have flown that too!

 

i don't hate Robbies, only flew a 22 once, so that is really not justification for me not liking them. If they would get rid of all them pal nuts, and put in a 'conventional' cyclic, and stop having blade problems, and that mandatory time overhaul, & the special FAR, and,, hmmm (maybe i do hate them)

 

i had the chance to fly a 44 once,, but declined, but the owner of it was a 'cowboy'.

 

I would take a 206 over any piston ship,, and a 500 over a 206

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For the money I think you can't go wrong with the 44. It is much much much more capable than a 22 but still "cheap" to operate. It is more then just a 22 with more seats. It has mass, power and speed. Auto's nice and the hydraulic controls and fuel injection are nice as well. It depends on what you are going to do with it. Are you flying it for fun or making money?

 

Is it my first choice, hell no! If you have the ability to go for a more capable and advanced turbine ship, than do it, not even a question, but otherwise the 44 is a fine helicopter if flown carefully and taken care of.

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I owned a Raven II for about 5 years. I had no problems and enjoyed flying it. I had the bladders installed before I sold it. Yes, it sucks to get an AD and spending money, but generally, it is about as economical as anything I've owned. I currently have a 407, and to be honest (with my long legs), I would prefer the T-bar cyclic. I hear a lot of bashing on that subject, but it works just great and you're not climbing over it. Just my 2 cents. The 44 never gave me one hiccup.

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If you want to take advantage of all of what Colorado heli flying has to offer - flights deep into the Rockies, dusting off snow capped 14ers, weekend jaunts to Aspen, Telluride, etc - stick with the 480B. If you're happy buzzing around the Front Range, Sunday brunch at the Blue Sky Bistro, a little bit of poking around the foothills, and more consevative/circuitous routes westbound, the R44 will do just fine. It's kind of like comparing a Ford Escape and a Range Rover. They'll both get you there - more or less. How do you want to arrive?

 

My complaints/concerns about high altitude and mountainous R44 ops:

Lighter/lower inertia rotor system more susceptible to RPM surge/decay in turbulence.

Governor struggles at high DA.

The R44 seems to get thrashed around in winds that hardly wobble the Enstrom.

Fears of low-G in turbulence.

Far less crashworthy.

 

The R44 is a great machine - economical, reliable, predictable maintenance. But it is certainly not as capable, comfortable, or safe as your 480B in Colorado's challenging mountainous flight environment.

 

JMHO

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If you want to take advantage of all of what Colorado heli flying has to offer - flights deep into the Rockies, dusting off snow capped 14ers, weekend jaunts to Aspen, Telluride, etc - stick with the 480B. If you're happy buzzing around the Front Range, Sunday brunch at the Blue Sky Bistro, a little bit of poking around the foothills, and more consevative/circuitous routes westbound, the R44 will do just fine. It's kind of like comparing a Ford Escape and a Range Rover. They'll both get you there - more or less. How do you want to arrive?

 

My complaints/concerns about high altitude and mountainous R44 ops:

Lighter/lower inertia rotor system more susceptible to RPM surge/decay in turbulence.

Governor struggles at high DA.

The R44 seems to get thrashed around in winds that hardly wobble the Enstrom.

Fears of low-G in turbulence.

Far less crashworthy.

 

The R44 is a great machine - economical, reliable, predictable maintenance. But it is certainly not as capable, comfortable, or safe as your 480B in Colorado's challenging mountainous flight environment.

 

JMHO

I fly a Raven (actually Clipper 2) every week. About 60 hours a month in actual Hobbs time. Extremely reliable, but yes they do get tossed around much more than an Enstrom (I've only flown the 480B model), I've never had Gov issues unless there was a problem with the Governor. (highest DA flights for me though are below 7000 DA) I do slow down quite a bit (75-85 knots) when in turbulence and always mindful of low G as my seat rises up and suddenly drops down under me.

 

The only crashworthy issue I have is with the fuel tanks and the bladders take care of that. I've seen many crash with passengers who walk away.

 

It IS a light helicopter, it was designed to be a light helicopter and it's very success is that it is a light helicopter. It can also be REALLY fast because it's a light helicopter. With a smooth set of blades you can get to 120-130 knots with two people on board, I've hit 150 mph a couple times with a slight tail wind. If you want to make money buy a Robbie. If you want to spend more money and have a more stable ship, the Enstrom is probably a good bet. You can't really compare the two directly, apples and oranges.

 

BTW- I know HeloJunkie did a lot of his flights over the desert to Phoenix and back...some of the hottest, windiest, turbulent environments...

 

Goldy

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

 

BTW- I know HeloJunkie did a lot of his flights over the desert to Phoenix and back...some of the hottest, windiest, turbulent environments...

 

Goldy

 

 

Yep -

 

Pretty much every wekend for three years back and forth from CRQ to DVT. Loved the air conditioning in the 44, even on the hottest days it would give me an ice cream headache.

 

As far as the turbulence (which there was a LOT of in the summer months), just slow down to a reasonable speed that prevents overcorrecting and all is well.

 

The Robby is like any other aircraft - buy it for your mission and then learn to work within its envelope and deal with it's limitations. If it's envelope does not work for you, you picked the wrong ship.

 

It always cracks me up that a lot of people bag on the robbies, but Frank is laughing his way to the bank every day. For such a 'crappy' machine to be the best selling helicopter in the world, there must be a lot of really stupid helicopter owners out there! And lets remember that the Robbie is not the only 'no negative G' bird out there, its not a Robbie thing, its a two bladed rotor system thing. Looks at the Huey's record in Vietnam until they figured that out.

 

I currently own and fly a 500e model. Is it more fun than the 44? Yes, is better in turbulence? Yes. Does it cost me three times the amount to operate? Yes!

 

I can tell you that I had a lot less down time with my 44 than I have with my 500, a lot less cost to operate and maintain the 44 than the 500 and if I ever sell my 500, I am going to go back and look at another new R44.

 

And while we are at it, if you don't drive the new Audi A7, I think you have the worst car in the world and you should go out and sell it and buy what I think is the right car for you! :-)

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And while we are at it, if you don't drive the new Audi A7, I think you have the worst car in the world and you should go out and sell it and buy what I think is the right car for you! :-

 

 

I prefer the new fast model Tesla all electric.....damn that thing is fast!

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 7 years later...

Being a Robinson Helicopter CFI with over 500 hours in Robinsons, I absolutely love flying them. In particular the Raven II models. I have plans and goals to one day move up, but I'm in no hurry. It kind of makes me feel bad for everyone that doesnt have a nice thing to say about them. Makes me wonder how many hours yall actually have in a Robbie.

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I feel that way about every aircraft I've flown.  If it gets me into the air I'll do my best to enjoy its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.  I don't think you're going to see too many of the original posters reply to you though, as the last post prior to you was almost 8 years ago.

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I've owned two 44's over the years, narrowly avoided the blade and bladder tank hits.  No complaints, maintenance costs were reasonable which can be expected when buying a new ship.  Hourly cost of operation depends upon how many hours flown, I was at $500/hr for the four years I owned each one.  I'm happy I have an Enstrom 280C now.

Mike

Edited by MLH
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/18/2020 at 1:14 PM, SBuzzkill said:

I feel that way about every aircraft I've flown.  If it gets me into the air I'll do my best to enjoy its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.  I don't think you're going to see too many of the original posters reply to you though, as the last post prior to you was almost 8 years ago.

Funny, I haven't logged in for about 4 years and this is the first thing I see!

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On 1/13/2021 at 5:41 PM, Goldy said:

Funny, I haven't logged in for about 4 years and this is the first thing I see!

 

I was wondering what happened to you...

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